The emergence of the Shining Path in Peru during the 1980s was unprecedented not only for that country but also for Latin America as a whole. Few such groups have ever managed to cause so much damage, death, and hardships; fewer still, perhaps, have demonstrated the ability of an extreme ideology to manifest itself as a political movement.

The literature that attempts to explain the origins and trajectory of the Shining Path is enormous, yet ultimately incomplete in many ways. For example, just how Abimael Guzmán was able to create and maintain his organization, and how and why the Peruvian state had so much difficulty in combating the movement, remain puzzling questions that perhaps may never be answered satisfactorily. However, to the degree that these questions will continue to be addressed, they will henceforth be addressed only with reference to Gustavo Gorriti’s remarkable book, now available in English.

Gorriti’s book...

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